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Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2000

Grbac knows a ‘big game’

Chiefs can draw even with Denver with victory at Mile High Stadium

September 23, 2000

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— If he's not careful, Elvis Grbac could get fined for not playing 'em one game at a time.

The Kansas City quarterback has actually acknowledged that Sunday's meeting at AFC West rival Denver is more important than most.

"This is a big, big game," Grbac said. "We come away with a win and we're 2-2 and Denver's 2-2. Who knows what else is going to happen in division play?"

While the Broncos spent the week in quarterback disarray, Grbac is fresh off his finest day as a pro. His five touchdown passes in a 42-10 victory over San Diego last Sunday broke the Chiefs' four-game regular-season losing streak and captured offensive-player-of-the-week honors for him.

Getting the honor must have seemed especially gratifying since Grbac was booed by Chiefs' fans when he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the first quarter.

"It's a nice recognition, obviously, by your peers," he said.

"It's a recognition for a week. You did a great thing for one week. Obviously this is another week to improve on that and get better, do some more great things to help my team win. The thing is, it's only an individual thing for one week. That's all you can think about is that you had that one great week and now it's time to get to the next one."

After a ragged first quarter where they fell behind, the Chiefs hit a high note against the Chargers.

"The big thing offensively is, I think we have some talent and that's the only way you're going to win," Grbac said. "I think we executed pretty well against San Diego and we just want to continue that this week. The most important thing is, I think guys came out of there with confidence in the passing game and things we can do, make plays down field. Our (offensive) line is playing extremely well."

Denver coach Mike Shanahan spent the week saying he wasn't sure which of his quarterbacks would start, injured regular Brian Griese or backup Gus Frerotte. But he knows Grbac from their days together in San Francisco.

"I've always been an Elvis Grbac fan," he said. "I think the world of him, not only as a quarterback but as a person. I know his talent level."

One advantage the Chiefs might be able to exploit is at wide receiver. Rookie Sylvester Morris, who caught three of Grbac's five TD passes against the Chargers, stands 6-foot-3 and is significantly taller than the Broncos' cornerbacks.

"I think with our size and ability at the receiver position, we should make some big plays downfield. But obviously, it's going to start up front," Grbac said. "Denver's defense comes up with a lot of different looks and a lot of different schemes against teams and we have to protect first. We have to do the right things down in the line and that's where it's going to be won.

"Our wide receivers should have a good game."

Unless they go back for the playoffs, this will be the last time the Chiefs play in Denver's Mile High Stadium. A new arena is being readied for the Broncos in time for next year.

"Over the years, Kansas City has had some trouble playing in Mile High. I know a lot of other teams have," Grbac said. "I think it's just the atmosphere and the pride they take in playing at home.

"The fans get into it and it's just an atmosphere that's very, very difficult to play in. The crowd noise is also going to be an issue for us. We play well there and if we do the right things at the right time and make plays, I think we can come away with a win."

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